Eight to sixteen inches of snow put a real damper on my plans this week. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow(six more weeks of winter), my diesel froze up an hour outside of town, and I couldn’t start a job on time. Sometimes our plans just don’t pan out.
Well, it wasn’t quite as bad as what the Israelites experienced with their 14 year delay after 70 years of slavery in a foreign land under a pagan king. God tells them to build his dwelling and from the beginning they face one adversity after another. Discouragement is an understatement. How do we proceed when we perceive God’s will but He allows the roadblocks in front of us? We’re thinking, “Hey, this your plan not mine and I’m just doing what you asked.”
We recently had our annual business meeting where we just elected 2 new pastor-elders and approved a motion to move forward in establishing a relationship with the Acts 29 Network in an effort to glorify God through His command in Matthew 28 – The Great Commission. The very next day, one of our new pastor-elders is called away.
Why God doesn’t make our lives easy or at least easier is an obvious question. Yes, I know our core is tainted by sin and our wicked hearts derail our efforts, but really?! I’m doing what You wanted, Help me! The prophet Isaiah tells us that “His ways are not our ways.” God is omniscient and omnipotent, we are not. Could we really be saying lets do this my way?
Isn’t our faith in and reliance on God tested the greatest when our carefully laid plans have been thwarted and we are deeply hurt and discouraged, afraid and uncertain of our next step? Can you name one patriarch or icon of the faith whose plans did not meet a roadblock who wasn’t forced to rest in God’s assurance and promises. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” It seems to be the point. Do we rely on our own efforts or do we trust God’s timing and ways in spite of the difficulties we may face?
The cross to us has always been a symbol of salvation. It’s also a symbol of strength. A strength that says, “God’s will cannot be stopped by sin, the will of man, or discouragement.” Let your faith and reliance be in Christ. Suffering for Him glorifies Him. (1 Peter 4:16) In the midst of life gone awry, remember, “I will never leave nor forsake you,” (Hebrews13:5). Sometimes we will walk through a deep valley, but He is with us. Preparing the way before us in His time and in His way. Whatever the circumstance, cling to the Gospel, keep focused on living on mission, and trust in the God whose ways are perfect and matchless.